The acquisition of the 54-hectare old Iloilo airport property in Mandurriao, Iloilo City has put Iloilo in the global map of the booming real estate industry, a top executive of a real estate marketing network said.

This was the assessment of Jed L. Villanueva, senior vice-president of Fil-Estate Network, Inc. which is composed of top five marketing companies working on residential developments in Iloilo.

“Iloilo is teeming with potentials in the field of real estate,” Villanueva stressed.

Megaworld has bought the old airport site to the tune of P1.2-billion – matching the minimum bid price set by the Department of Finance-led privatization council tasked to sell the Iloilo City’s prime lot.

“Iloilo’s real estate market is very robust. Even Manila-based big players come to Iloilo as they already saw the local potentials 10 years back,” Villanueva said.

“The airport sale would increase the value of property not only in the immediate area in Mandurriao but Iloilo as a whole. It also puts Iloilo in the ‘radar screen’ of real estate players in the Philippines and the rest of the world,” he pointed out.

Villanueva said the airport site development will “add up to the positive factors of attracting investors and good for Iloilo’s economy.”

Five of country’s giant estate developers had initially signified interest to develop the old airport site including Megaworld Corp.’s subsidiary Empire East Holdings, Inc.; SM Prime Holdings, Inc.; Robinson’s Land Corp.; Ayala Land Inc.; and Rockwell Land Corp.

Appraisal made by international commercial real estate broker CB Richard Ellis assessed the old airport’s value from P500 million to P2 billion.

Megaworld beat Robinson’s Land which offered a bid of more than P900 million.

The winning developer wants to secure a license at the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) to transform the old airport property into a new business district.

A pioneer in the development of cyber-parks, Megaworld wants to attract Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies to set up offices in the Visayas region particularly Iloilo City.

The BPO industry includes call centers, medical and legal transcriptions, software development, architecture and animation.

This story first appeared in The Daily Guardian Iloilo Aug. 2, 2007